Saturday, 4/18/15

  1. Police Pendulum’s ominous swing
  2. How not to understand a law
  3. Friendsbalt.org: Certifying Plutocrats since 1784
  4. Gay Jackboot Update
  5. Person ≠ feline ≠ German Shepherd
  6. Defending The Pledge
  7. Da perp fell down da stairs

1

I’d write this as a guest column, but the local newspaper would probably enforce de mortuis nil nisi bonum, whereas I think the history is important.

When I came back to my hometown 33 years ago, we had 3 credible police departments (excluding Purdue’s just because I was unfamiliar with it): Indiana State Police, Tippecanoe County Sheriff, and West Lafayette Police.

And then there was LPD, the Lafayette Police Department. You’d almost think they tested candidates for sociopathy, viewing it as a feature, not a bug. There were constant, credible complaints of police brutality. The glowering Chief, backed by an affable figurehead mayor and his aging and vicious party chairman/city attorney, would brook no criticism, find no violation. The blue wall of silence was alive and well, which meant that our policing was sick.

It got better.

Now it appears the pendulum is swinging back under a Mayor who was a beat cop in those bad old days, and arguably was “part of the problem.” But he seemed to grow up, and to grow out of any roguishness.

“Seemed.” That Mayor is not implicated in the current ugliness, and in fairness, he can’t micromanage and shouldn’t needlessly undermine his immediate subordinates. But his current Chief’s inaction is too reminiscent of the old Chief (minus the glower and the snarl). The Mayor may soon need to step in or he’ll have crossed a line into condoning bad police officers.

On a more legal note, the ugly facts coming to light about police conduct are “meant to counter the city’s motion for summary judgment, based on lack of proof that Williams and Barthelemy assaulted Vander Plaats.” Officers ganged up to verbally abuse and vulgarly threaten a young man who texted (I assume flirtatiously) the fiancé of one of them. Ten days later, the young man was set upon and beaten in an alley. The City is saying, in effect, “complete coincidence; there’s no proof these officer did or suborned it.” The City Attorney chalked that the trash talking as a “brand of man code, rather than a bond between police officers.”

I assume the officers are smirking at their Bart Simpson defense.

I hope the case survives any Summary Judgment Motion, and my impression is that it should. If this were a “mini-trial,” I’d find by a preponderance that the beating originated with the guys behind the blue wall.

2

Our local newspaper asked its “Rapid Responders” to weigh in on “Do you believe protection based on sexual orientation is needed in Indiana?” Herewith, a sampling of “yes” answers:

  1. “The LGBT community needs a law to protect them from our Congress and our governor. Pence’s Christian extremist buddies made it quite clear what the RFRA was really about before it was ever passed.”
  2. “The very existence of RFRA shows that such protection is needed. It was only created to allow people to discriminate based on sexual orientation. And it’s still legal in this state to fire someone simply for being gay. How is that fair?”
  3. “Certainly, because the “fix” for RFRA was only to fix perception of the law. It did not fix the actual flaws which allow discrimination over most of the state.”
  4. “If this wasn’t about discrimination, why wasn’t a rider added similar to the West Lafayette, Lafayette and Tippecanoe ordinances against discrimination? Why were three anti gay representatives of homophobic groups standing behind the governor at the photo-op? I believe the statements by the self-proclaimed homophobic organizations, it is about discrimination and against the civil rights of gay children of God.”

The common thread I wanted to highlight is the credulity of these Responders: They all think that the law means what some wingnut says on his website (though they wouldn’t believe him if he said water was wet), or means what the semiotics of having three Christianesque “conservatives” at the signing ceremony evokes in the observer.

Not one of them seems to have consulted the actual law, readily available online. Not one of them shows a glimmer of recognition that the law means what it says, and that no judge is going to say “forget what RFRA says; I want to know what misleading nonsense was thrown out in fundraising letters, and who was smiling as the Governor signed.”

There’s also no apparent recognition that people not liking you, or having no law against discrimination, does not amount to a discrimination problem. Maybe they don’t like you because you’re creepy. Maybe people will do business with you anyway, even if you “flaunt your sexuality,” because your money is green. D’ya think?

3

Rod Dreher comments on The Hysterical Hate for Ryan T. Anderson. Skim it, at least, first.

Finished skimming? Now: I completely agree with Dreher on this:

Ryan T. Anderson, a devout Catholic, advocates respectfully and intelligently for a position that an overwhelming majority of Americans held 20 years ago, and that a third of all Americans hold today. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama professed it until practically the day before yesterday. And yet he is some kind of Nazi to these elites who spend nearly $30,000 per year to send their kids to this playpen?

Intellectually bankrupt, morally corrupt. Illiberal elitist liberalism at its ugliest ….

But think a bit more about what the head of this very expensive school said:

We have no greater responsibility than to continually strive to create a safe, nurturing environment for all the children in our care ….

Either this pabulum (1) is nonsense, and the greater responsibility is to educate, intellectual bumps and bruises included, or (2) what Friends School of Baltimore is really creating is certification that you are a member of the rich elite, and entitled to all the honors and privileges thereof.

I’m going with number 2, because I don’t think the parents are stupid enough to spend those kinds of tuition bills just to warehouse their kids while they go to work, but neither do I think you can educate kids, or have educated them well, by keeping them in a safe, nurturing, progressivist echo chamber.

So much for meritocracy in America; long live the progressive plutocrats – and their children’s children to the third and fourth generation.

4

From a shrill, vulgar, and (of course) dishonest Huffington Post rant, a telling admission accompanies a gay financial planner’s taunting end-zone dance:

Clearly, the tsumami-like backlash has left Governor Pence and his Christian right compadres blindsided and wondering what the heck happened. Walking back, a cowed Governor Pence has subsequently said he wants to “fix” the law to clarify it, that it’s not about discrimination. Uh huh. Does this mean that the good governor has suddenly seen the error of his ways and is ready to embrace the LGBTQI community because it’s the right thing to do (and the governor of Arkansas has undergone similar soul searching as well)? Not on your life. Governor Pence’s scramble is solely due to the financial catastrophe he has unleashed upon his state by ignoring this very critical truth — we’re here, we’re LGBTQI, we’re loaded (and our friends are too), get used to it.

Protected class status is for groups that have been disadvantaged by systematic discrimination, not for the rich and politically powerful.

Side note: Will they stop expanding LGBTetcetera when they’ve used up the alphabet, or do expand infinitely, kind of like Pi?

5

Boing-Boing, a site that is not tabbed in my browser, had a picture of a cat saying “It’s oppressive to call me a Feline. I actually identify as a German Shepherd.” The reaction was furious from those who found the photo “transphobic,” as documented by Twitchy, another site that is not tabbed in my browser.

But since we’re all supposed to have opinions about everything, my opinion is that “transgender” likely is not a real thing. A lot of stuff can go on between the ears of we mortals, witness (the late) Dennis Avner, who thought himself a cat.

But that guy is not a cat is not a German Shepherd, no matter what it thinks, and no matter how oppressive and mean-spirited it may be of me to say so.

Maybe that logic doesn’t scale up to “gender,” but I’m contrary enough to require better evidence than I’ve seen or heard so far.

6

Religious liberty is especially important for unpopular and minority religions. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Case in point. Because of higher allegiances and because of perceived nationalist and anti-federalist undertones, I ceased pledging allegiance some decades ago. I’m more scrupulous about “one nation” than about “under God.”

But for those whose allegiances are perhaps a bit more mixed than mine, “under God” is quite the bone of contention. And I’m grateful that the Becket Fund was there to defend those two words on behalf of a young lady to whom they meant a lot.

If the Humanists don’t like those words, they can join me in omitting them or omitting the whole darned thing.

7

Having attacked him, kneecapped him, and then beaten him about the head while he was down, the press is now objectively reporting that Indiana Governor Mike Pence has been “damaged.”

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.